Anger as Kent set for bus pass price hike


Kent CC has found itself in hot water after revealing it is set to increase the cost of bus passes for secondary school students by £50 this year, to £250.

Parents have vowed to fight the decision, which comes a year after the price doubled from £100.

However Kent CC has defended the increase stating that the pass ‘is the most generous of its kind outside London’ and at £250 KCC will still pay an average subsidy of £338 per pass holder.

It added that government cuts had forced KCC to consider the price hike as it has to save a total of £209m over the next three years.

With the Young Persons' Travel Pass, students gain unlimited access to Kent's buses for 11 to 16 year-olds on weekdays between 06:00 and 19:00 from the start of the academic year until 31 July.

Staplehurst campaigner Katya Thornton, told the BBC: ‘We have just set up an e-petition and we will be emailing all the schools and hoping people will sign.

‘Some people will say the increase is only £50 but that's a 25% rise and its coming on top of last year's rise, for some people like me this has a real impact.

‘It's very unfair for those of us who live in rural communities because I don't have the right kinds of schools on the doorstep.’

She has received the support of the UKIP opposition leader on the council Roger Latchford, who said he was appalled and would oppose the increase. KCC’s cabinet will take a decision on the cost of next year’s card at the next meeting on 1 June.

Matthew Balfour, Kent CC cabinet member for transport, said: ‘We are choosing to continue supporting families in the county and are committed to providing 11-to-16 year-old pupils with the opportunity of taking the bus to school, saving parents hundreds of pounds a year.

‘Outside London this is the most generous scheme in the country – and many councils offer no help at all. There are around 25,000 pupils using the Young Persons’ Travel Pass and we understand its importance to parents. ‘As a result, we have taken great care to maintain the scheme in its current form, but in the face of government cuts, it is as much as we can afford.’

In a statement Kent said: ‘The cost of the pass would be frozen at £100 for some families on low incomes, and the opportunity will be maintained for those in care, care leavers and young carers to qualify for a free pass. At the same time, the cost of the Kent 16+ Travel Card will be frozen at £400 per year.’

Applications for the 2015-16 Young Persons’ Travel Pass can be made from Monday 15 June.

comments powered by Disqus